Taking A Leap Into Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality has taken the media by storm in recent months, due to the recent release of the first consumer and commercially available devices which promise to change the media landscape. Though this technology has been primarily driven by the gaming industry, this usage barely scratches the surface of its potential.

Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology which allows the user to submerge themselves fully into an immersive, virtually created environment. This medium makes for a more captivating and visceral experience; whatever data it is being used to consume. In the case of a movie – greater connections can be forged with the characters; in a simulation – actions and consequences are more concrete. In architecture VR can be used as a tool not only for the benefit of the designer but also as a communication tool to express the ideas of the architect to the client.

Virtual Reality allows us to inhabit full scale replicas of designs, appreciate the effect that these areas have upon us or even make changes from within the space. Being able to step into the space that one is designing as if it had already been built has never been possible on such a scale before.

There is no acclimatisation to the technology, and no different mentality to adopt – this makes it incredibly easy for anyone to understand spaces which are being designed. There is no need for a client who may be unfamiliar with architectural drawings to try to extrapolate information from a 2D plan. Likewise, VR provides a more complete picture than rendered images, since it is possible to look or go anywhere.

The technology is still young, but has already proved to be an incredible tool and still has a great advances to come. Imagine in a few short years, that a client could use VR in their office, to enter a project they have commissioned. At the same time the architect could join the client in the same space, from their own office, and have a design meeting about the space, in the space, from the other side of the world.

The newest addition to our team, Sandy Stuchfield, who recently completed his Part II in Architecture and a dissertation in VR, has shown us the way in creating virtual models. We are now embarking on this exciting interaction and are able to provide our clients with a fully immersive walkthrough experience through a Virtual Reality headset.

Published on 24 August 2016